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Melon Production


Melons are a warm season crop that grow best with temperature of 86–95 °F (30–35 ℃) and are sensitive to freezing temperatures at every growth stage. Cantaloupe and honeydew melons account for a third of the U.S. melon market and are a high value crop for local production. A primary challenge for melon production in cool regions such as northwest Washington is sudden vine wilt that is caused by environmental stress such as cold soil.

Research Highlights

Our research project is focused on testing grafting as a management option to overcome sudden vine wilt. We are identifying compatible rootstocks for melon grafting and providing production guidelines for growers in similar climatic regions. Additionally, we are evaluating melon cultivars for production in our region.

Grafting melons in a field
Sudden vine wilt in nongrafted ‘Goddess’ cantaloupe on the left (A), and ‘Goddess’ grafted onto ‘Super Shintosa’ on the right (B) in Mount Vernon NWREC, 2020.

Person checking grafted melon plants
Grafted melon plants in the healing chamber

Grafted 'Athena' vs nongrafted 'Athena'
Vigorous grafted ‘Athena’ compared to nongrafted ‘Athena’

 Incompatible grafting combination of 'Sugar Rush' as a scion and 'Carolina Strongback' as a rootstock
Incompatible grafting combination of ‘Sugar Rush’ as a scion and ‘Carolina Strongback’ as a rootstock

melon filed ready to harvest
Fruit yield in ‘Athena’ grafted onto ‘Carnivor’